Nigeria: President Jonathan sets up panel to investigate Pre and Post election violence

By Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna – President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday inaugurated a twenty man panel of inquiry into pre-election violence in Akwa Ibom State South-South Nigeria as well as the civil unrest in some states in the country following the declaration of President Jonathan as the winner of the 2011 presidential election.

Inaugurating the panel President Jonathan directed the presidential panel to conclude their investigation and submit their reports within six weeks.

The Chairman of the panel Sheikh Ahmed Lemu tendered what it described as two substantive requests before the president – effective security for its members and effective measures to forestall interference from any quarters.

President Jonathan, while inaugurating the presidential panel in the council chambers at the presidential villa,in Abuja, the Nation’s capital, spelt out five terms of reference for them to carry out their job.

He charged the panel with the following terms of reference: To investigate the immediate and remote cause(s) of the pre-election violence in Akwa Ibom State south-south part of the country as well as the tide of unrest in some states of the federation following the presidential election and make appropriate recommendations on how to prevent future occurrence; “To ascertain the number of persons who lost their lives or sustained injuries during the violence;

“To identify the spread and extent of loss and damage to means of livelihood and assess the cost of damage to personal and public properties and places of worship and make appropriate recommendations;

“To investigate the sources of weapons used in the unrest and recommend how to stem the tide of illegal flow of such weapons to the country;

“To examine any other matter incidental or relevant to the unrest and advise government as appropriate.”

Expressing confidence in the membership of the panel to do a thorough job, the president said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I must place on record the fact that this panel of eminent Nigerians has been constituted after a careful consideration of all relevant factors.

The chairman and members are distinguished Nigerians with unquestionable antecedents of integrity, resourcefulness, patriotism, probity and commitment to equity and justice.

President Jonathan expressed no doubt whatsoever that they will bring a synergy of their collective experience to bare and demonstrate diligence to bare on this crucial national assignment.

On his part, chairman of the panel, Lemu, while praying the president for adequate security, said:.

“For every member has integrity in the eyes of God and man to protect. Some of us like myself have already collected their respective boarding passes at the age of 82, sitting in the departure lounge awaiting for the call to board the plane with the hope of their destination to be at yonder, Insha Allah.”

On behalf of the panel the Chairman of the panel thanked Mr. President and all the members of government for the confidence reposed in them by this appointment and solemnly promise that, God willing, they will live up to the highest expectation of the Nigerian nation.